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Vila do Porto ,  July 24, 2018

PRORURAL+ execution rate in the Azores reached 43.5% in June, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry revealed today that the execution rate of the Rural Development Programme of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, designated as PRORURAL +, was set at 43.5% in June. This figure puts the Azores at the top of execution rates in terms of Community funds at European and national level.
"The PRORURAL + execution rate was set at 43.5% in June, involving payments of 150 million Euros," said João Ponte. He spoke in Vila do Porto on the sidelines of a visit to the facilities of AGROMARIENSECOOP and of a meeting with the Board of the Santa Maria Agricultural Association.
On the first day of the Regional Government's statutory visit, João Ponte stated that more than 13,000 projects were submitted under PRORURAL +, corresponding to an eligible investment over 400 million Euros.
"For the Regional Government, these figures are satisfactory but, above all, they demonstrate the farmers' ability to invest, modernise their facilities and prepare their farms for the challenges of the future," stressed the Secretary for Agriculture.
As João Ponte pointed out, "this is also a sign of confidence in the sector because no one invests in an industry in which they see no future and in which they do not trust."
The Regional Secretary stressed that there is still a path to follow in order to achieve the full implementation of the current Community framework, defending that the full implementation of the funds available, as in previous frameworks, is essential for the preparation and structuring of agriculture in the Azores for the post-2020 challenges.
Regarding the production of cantaloupe on the island of Santa Maria, already certified with the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) certification, the government official highlighted the growth registered in terms of cultivated area and production, a sign he considered very positive.
"It should be recalled that the cantaloupe production area on Santa Maria Island did not reach three hectares two years ago. In 2018, it is expected to reach seven hectares. Naturally, the cantaloupe production registered last year, standing at 53 tonnes, has growth prospects for this year," said João Ponte.
Although small areas are concerned, the Regional Secretary emphasised the farmers' interest in this crop and the efforts undertaken by the Agricultural Association and the AGROMARIENSECOOP Cooperative in order to enhance the value of Santa Maria cantaloupe, thus boosting profitability and producers' income.
With regard to POSEI proposal for 2019, João Ponte also revealed that it will be submitted to the European Commission this month. Among other things, the proposal aims to exempt PGI and PDO production from apportionment, while applying a 10% increase in aid to horticultural products.
"In 2017, the apportionment in the aid to the production of vegetables, including cantaloupe, stood at about 14%. In 2019, the aid amount will grow 24% over 2017 without apportionment to PGI cantaloupe," stated João Ponte. In this regard, he considered that this is a positive measure and, certainly, there will more farmers on Santa Maria to show interest in cantaloupe production, increasing the area dedicated to agricultural diversification.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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